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Review of Charming A Farcical Fairytale at Old Red Lion Theatre

Charming a Farcical FairytaleCharming A Farcical Fairytale mixes the fairytales of Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel and Beauty and the Beast, while pulling the character of Rumplestiltskin and briefly mentioning Sleeping Beauty. It focuses around 5 brothers – Prince Charming, Prince William, Prince Rupert, Prince Simon and a Beast – and their search for marriage to win a bet between themselves – whoever marries first will be king. Meeting in the Beast’s castle in France, they all claim to have found their bride, but it turns out that not one of them has actually married her yet (some of their girls don’t even know they exist!).

Then back in England, four of the brothers (the Beast stays in France) come face to face with their brides to be. Prince Charming meets Cinderella, Prince William wheels in Snow White in a coffin, and Prince Rupert unexpectedly meets Rapunzel after having sex with her. Add in Cinderella’s fairy godmother, Prince Simon in a dress and a gay Rumplestiltskin who loves Prince William and wants to adopt Rapunzel’s twins, and everything starts to get a bit messy.

It is a fairly fast paced show and all of the cast have some comic moments, but it is the strength of Alexander Stutt as Prince Simon that carries the show. Not only is he a funny and loveable character, but he brings most of the energy to the production along with the pace that it needs.

Antonio Draper’s Snow White is also a fairly strong performance. Her feisty love/hate relationship with Tom Everatt’s Prince Rupert reminds me a little bit of Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing.

However, the whole play needs more polishing and the script some editing. There are scenes that end in utter mayhem, but I didn’t believe that the characters had a reason for that mayhem to happen. Those scenes need to build more to the climax of madness. There are a couple of puppets in the show (particularly the butler who I would have liked to have seen more of), but I think more time is needed working with the puppets to keep them alive in scenes, particularly the mice on the ends of fingers who were just there at times. It would have been a lot more exciting if they had been kept moving in scenes.

Despite the shows faults, it is a fun play that the audience enjoyed and laughed at. It’s very festive and a nice show for Christmas time. It is funny and – as the title suggests – very farcical, however with a bit more work, polishing and some editing of the script it could be better.

3 Star Review

Review by Elliott Wallis

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (otherwise known as France), four not-so charming princes gather to propose a wager: Whoever shall be the first to marry will take the throne. Simple enough, and for four young handsome princes, what could possibly go wrong? Well in a world where true love is a mere fable, let’s start with one misplaced shoe, a remarkably tenacious coma, one lady of uncertain age, a persistent ex ‘friend’, and not to mention the in-laws… but who needs happily ever after anyway?

After an acclaimed sell-out run at the Camden Fringe Festival, Charming will receive its mainstream premiere at the Old Red Lion this holiday season. This is not your traditional bedtime story but one with chaos, hilarious misunderstandings and enough sweet Disney-themed idealism to poison any apple!

“The plot was both entertaining and ingenious… will have you cracking up from the second you enter the theatre.” Everything Theatre
This production will see an exciting blend of sharp slapstick, fast-paced dialogue, heart-warming family favourites and puppetry that is nothing short of magical. The perfect Christmas present for family, friends, co-workers, enemies and even your one true love (if you’re lucky/silly enough to have one). Situated above the Old Red Lion pub, the theatre proves the perfect intimate setting for a smashing night out of high drama and low-brow comedy.

Written and directed by Ross Howard. Designed by Oscar Balfour

Matthew Winters – The Beast/Rumplestiltskin
Tom Oxenham – Prince Charming
Alex Frisby – Prince William
Tom Everatt – Prince Rupert
Alexander Stutt – Prince Simon
Felicity Wentzel – The Butler/The Fairy Godmother
Gemma Harvey – Cinderella
Antonia Draper – Snow White
Zakiyah Rawat – Rapunzel

Suitable for ages 12+

Old Red Lion Theatre, Islington
9th December – 3rd January

Thursday 11th December 2014


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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